Photograph - Photograph
Looking into a flower of Rugel's false pawpaw, with a leaf and bud behind and with a soft blue sky background. This photograph was made in Tiger Bay State Forest where a substantial portion of the known population of this endangered endemic plant occurs.
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Deeringothamnus rugelii is a very small rare shrub of pine flatwoods only occurring in Volusia County Florida. The full common name is Rugel's false pawpaw. It is also called yellow squirrel-banana or Volusia pawpaw.
Like all members of this plant family, Deeringothamnus rugelii is a host plant for zebra swallowtail caterpillars. Gopher tortoises are known to eat the fruit. This plant grows on specific soil types in pine flatwoods.
The species was named for Ferdinand Rugel who traveled in the southern United States in the 1840s and discovered several new species while in Florida. The genus was named by botanist John Kunkel Small in honor of his friend and patron Charles Deering.
(Species description from the artist's Wild Florida Photo website www.wildflphoto.com)
May 25th, 2015
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